Typically every year the Bengals draft a player as a project. Last year it was Otis Hudson, an offensive tackle that at one point, was projected to make the transition into an offensive guard, replacing Bobbie Williams who is currently entering the final year under contract. There's Jason Shirley, also a project after an unsuccessful stint as a defensive tackle. Finding a way to keep him on the team, the Bengals decided to work him as an offensive guard. Stacy Andrews, Ahmad Brooks, the list goes on.
With no free agency to help fill the holes on the roster, the Bengals aren't afforded the luxury of drafting project players. Instead the Bengals are gearing up to draft the best prospects that will immediately contribute.
"We have to make sure we get great players," Lewis said. "Because we're eventually going to complete this team with other players. So let's get the greatest young prospects that are going to play for a long period of time and hopefully at a very, very high level. It's important to be careful. Anybody we put our chip on, we're expecting him to come in here and go."
Which of course begs the question: Why haven't they been doing this to start with?